Florida police ramp up their crackdown on street racing
Police in Florida are cracking down on street racing in the first year of a new law enacted to curtail it.
Driving the news: Police responded to several street takeovers in South Florida last month, where drivers did doughnuts and stunts while spectators set off fireworks, Axios Miami reports.
- In late June, Hillsborough and Tampa authorities arrested 15 people they say took over an intersection in the Palm River-Clair Mel area for street racing. In April, 69 people were arrested in a St. Petersburg street racing bust.
Why it matters: The takeovers, which are being promoted on social media, cause chaos for drivers and can be deadly.
- A 13-year-old was killed earlier this year in St. Petersburg when he was hit by a motorcycle involved in a street race.
- Cameron Herrin is serving 24 years in prison for one of Tampa Bay's most notorious cases when the then 18-year-old killed a mother and daughter while racing on Bayshore Boulevard in 2018.
Catch up quick: Between 2018 and 2022, there were 6,641 citations issued statewide for either street racing or stunt driving, according to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
- Pinellas County's racing citations jumped from 71 in 2018 to 135 in 2022. Hillsborough's went from 30 to 89 in that time.
Between the lines: Under the state law enacted last year, it's not just drivers who can now be charged for street racing.
- Anyone organizing a street race, riding as a passenger or filming from a vehicle can also be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor.
- For a first violation, an offender can have their driver's license temporarily revoked and be fined up to $1,000.
- Offenders may also have their cars impounded.
What they're saying: In response to state data, Tampa police told Axios in a statement it "should be clear to anyone who thinks they can participate in street racing or takeovers anywhere in Tampa or Hillsborough County: we will catch, we will arrest you, and we will impound your car."
- Seattle is trying to install traffic cameras to start automatically ticketing people who illegally race cars.
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